The rise of workplace FOMO and how to prevent it

FOMO, or fear of missing out, has been a trending topic of conversation, especially as it relates to millennials. Who wants to miss out on a friend’s birthday or a vacation? A couple years ago, Eventbrite released a study that said 69 percent of millennials experience FOMO when they can't attend something their friends or family are going to. The study points out that social media fuels feelings of exclusion as millennials see constant updates from their friends on Facebook and Instagram and want to participate. 

As trends in the consumer world often make their way to the business world, it's no surprise that FOMO has entered the workplace. According to an article in CMSWire, workplace FOMO is on the rise and is created by an increasing number of enterprise tools that employees must use. It’s ironic that the more connected employees are to what is happening around them, the more they are reminded of what they are missing out on. 

The corporate world needs to get ahead of FOMO. Companies must find ways to ensure employees don’t miss important information, while still encouraging them to take the time to shut down and recharge. Here are a few ideas:

The right approach to notifications

According to the CMSWire article, one of the main causes of workplace FOMO comes from the steady stream of notifications employees receive throughout the day. At work, we toggle between emails, documents, and business apps so we don’t miss anything from our boss, colleagues, or customers. We check our mobile phone or computer constantly for new updates because we fear we may be missing something important.

While the notion that notifications exacerbate the issue is true to an extent, the reality is that the right notifications can actually make workplace FOMO less of an issue. Look to solutions that use push notifications to deliver only relevant and important information needed to do your job, not every piece of information. While it may seem counterintuitive, when employees can customize the information they see and trust that they will receive it right when they need it, they will be less likely to constantly check their systems. 

A personalized feed vs. an inbox

With email being the primary information delivery system in the workplace, we are forced to scroll through hundreds of irrelevant emails a day to find the few emails that matter. Often, important emails are missed as a byproduct of this information overload. A recent Forrester study found that almost half of employees miss important information or deadlines because they have become blind to the excessive amount of email. 

Instead of this barrage of email, employees need a customized feed that includes all the updates they want to see – time sensitive or not. A personalized feed with only the updates deemed relevant allows them to scan information at a high level and find out everything that is going on in their systems, with their department, or among their peers. Think of it like a personalized Facebook feed, which enables employees to sort through the vast range of information and tasks they are bombarded with at work. Customizations can be made to enable the most important or time-sensitive information to be pushed to employees in the form of a notifications while the less pressing information is presented in the feed that can be checked at their convenience. Irrelevant Information simply won’t be seen. 

Making artificial intelligence more accessible to workers

CMSWire mentions that artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to help manage FOMO in the workplace and here at Sapho, we completely agree. Leveraging AI to learn individual employees’ behaviors and preferences helps guide the types of information they receive in a feed.

Solutions that use AI can provide a customized experience that is unique to each individual employee and what they need to do their job. As time passes, the system becomes more intelligent and can more accurately provide relevant and actionable information to employees. 

Artificial intelligence paired with intelligent notifications and a personalized feed allows employees to put down their devices without worrying about missing something – important information will be surfaced before employees know they need it! The future workplace is one that eliminates FOMO by allowing employees to set preferences around the information they receive, knowing that an intelligent system is in the background learning behaviors to further enhance the workplace experience. With new advancements in workplace technologies, employees can rest assured knowing they’re not missing out.

This short video showcases how important information is delivered to employees via notifications where as less time sensitive information is provided via a feed. Employees can rest assured they will not miss out on anything important to them:

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Natalie Lambert is the Vice President of Marketing at Sapho. She joins from Citrix where she held multiple product marketing leadership positions. Before that, Natalie was a principal analyst at Forrester Research where she was the leading expert on end user computing.

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